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The 7 Principles of Weight Loss

By Ramona French ; Updated July 18, 2017

Following certain proven principles of weight loss can lead to dramatic results. For example, Drew Saur used to weigh 325 lbs. In 2003, he decided to make some major changes in his life. He started with counting calories and found out he had been eating 4,000 to 5,000 calories a day. Over two years, he lost 150 lbs. and began walking for exercise. He now runs in 5K and half-marathon events. Saur is a member of the National Weight Control Registry, along with 5,000 others who hope that their successful weight loss experience can help others lose weight too.

Count Calories

According to the National Weight Control Registry, 98 percent of their members successfully lost weight and kept it off through reducing caloric intake. Most of them ate a low-calorie and low-fat diet. The "Journal of the American Dietetic Association" reported in April 1998 that women in the registry reported an average intake of 1,300 calories a day, and men reported eating 1,685 calories a day.


The NWCR reports that 90 percent of their members exercise an average of one hour a day, a significant commitment to health. Participants report that their exercise is simply walking for an hour a day, which is free and requires no equipment. They continue exercising even after losing excess weight to maintain the healthy weight.

Eat Breakfast

Seventy-eight percent of those who lost weight and kept it off successfully report that they eat breakfast every day, according to a February 2002 article in "Obesity Research." Eating breakfast every day helps to control hunger throughout the day, making it less likely you will overeat or eat unhealthy snack foods.

Pay Attention to Your Weight

Long-term weight loss requires that you pay attention to your weight, according to a July 1999 article by M. T. McGuire and associates in "Obesity Research." Seventy-five percent of the members of the NWCR weigh themselves at least once a week.

Stay Active

Sixty-two percent of NWCR members report that they watch less than 10 hours of television a week. Watching television, working on the computer, playing computer games and other similar activities often take the place of more physical activity in the lives of Americans, so watching less television will give you time for more strenuous activity including gardening, housework and sports.


Most of the members of the NWCR report that they diet consistently every day, rather than mixing up their schedules. For instance, they don't diet during the week and then binge on the weekends. Long-term weight loss seems to require being consistent in both exercise and diet, as well as self-monitoring. Those who diet consistently were more likely to maintain their weight over the subsequent year than those who diet more strictly during the week, according to a February 2004 article in the "International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders" by A. A. Gorin and colleagues.

Keep a Record of What You Eat

Keeping a written record of what you eat and how much you exercise is part of self-monitoring and makes it more likely that you will succeed, reports R. R. Wing and collegues in a 2001 article in "Annual Review of Nutrition."

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